Review by: Matt Brighton
Posted on: January 28th, 2012
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Plot: What’s it about?

There have been a lot of movies out there that have been hyped and, well, over-hyped. Over the last decade or so, this trend has gotten progressively worse. Each Summer we’re deluged with what used to be one or two “event” movies and now it seems that every week there’s some new movie that everyone must see. You know what? Most movies fail to deliver on this promise and I’m reminded of a movie back in 1995 entitled “Showgirls.” Do you see where I’m going with this? “Showgirls” was supposed to be a breakout movie for former “Saved by the Bell” star Elizabeth Berkley as she made the leap from small screen to big screen. Ironically Berkley’s character on said television show was that of an uptight braniac. “Showgirls” hit the screen to less than stellar reviews and, after fifteen years, very little has changed. Now it’s not uncommon for movies to be initially panned by critics and, over time, they gain some notoriety and acceptance (take “Citizen Kane” for example). And yes, I just mentioned “Citizen Kane” in the same paragraph as “Showgirls.” If, after fifteen years, you haven’t had the “pleasure” (and I use those quotes loosely), then why not bite the bullet and give it a shot?

“Showgirls” is fairly easy to follow in regards to the plot. We meet a young drifter by the name of Nomi (Elizabeth Berkley) whose ambition is to be a showgirl in Las Vegas. She quickly meets up with Molly (Gina Ravera), a seamstress at a hotel and the two are joined at the hip in no time at all. After taking a job as a stripper at the “Cheetah Club” she encounters Cristal Connors (Gina Gershon), the star of the show. Nomi idolizes Cristal and manages to get an audition (and later a part) in said show, but learns that to be on top, you have to step on a few toes along the way. Nomi has a choice to make as to her future and how bad she wants it. Will she sell everyone and everything out to be a star or will her morals guide her in the right direction?

Admittedly, on paper, “Showgirls” doesn’t sound that bad. And, on a technical level, it’s really not. I’m not an expert at dancing, but there does seem to be some good chorogeraphy. The real allure for this film is the skin and let me tell you there’s plenty of it. If your goal is to see plenty of topless women (especially Elizabeth Berkley) then you’ll accomplish your goal. What “Showgirls” comes off as is a soft-core porno that doesn’t seem to deliver. I mean hey, if you want to see sex, don’t rent this just rent an adult video (at least they deliver on what they promise). But if you want to see the girl from “Saved by the Bell” having sex with the guy from “Twin Peaks” in a pool, well then by all means – this is for you. Looking back, I suppose “Showgirls” isn’t as bad as they say but go into it not expecting a lot and it’ll probably deliver just a tad bit more.

Video: How does it look?

This is the first offering of “Showgirls” on the Blu-ray format and I must say that it does look pretty darn good. Admittedly, this isn’t the kind of film I’ve seen time and again, so I was doing a comparison based on the standard DVD I saw about a decade ago. Still, any film that takes place in Las Vegas will feature a lot of glamour and glitz and the transfer picks up on this a bit. The 2.35:1 AVC HD image appears very vivid and detail is nice as well. As I mentioned earlier, there’s no shortage of skin in this movie and if that’s what you’re after, well all I can say is that you won’t be disappointed.

Audio: How does it sound?

“Showgirls” sports a nice-sounding DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack. Dialogue, if you filter out the actual words, is very clear and clean. The soundtrack does sound a tad bit dated with some of the mid 90’s songs pushing through. There’s maybe one too many dance montages (or maybe one is too many?), but they do engage all of the speakers. The LFE aren’t too active but do chime in at a few points in the film. While not the most robust track out there, this certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This fifteenth anniversary edition spots a varitey of supplements but, like the movie itself, they somewhat fail to deliver. We get a few featurettes like “Pole Dancing: Find your inner stripper” (the less said about that, the better) and we get a hands on, pardon the pun, guide to lap dancing featuring the girls of “Scores” (a famous gentleman’s club). Incorrectly labeled is “The Greatest Movie Ever Made” which features a commentary by David Schmader. This isn’t an audio commentary on the movie, per se so you’ve been warned. Also included are some pop-up movie factoids which enhances the experience to a degree.

Showgirls: 15th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)
Paul Verhoeven
131 min.

  • (2.35:1)
  • Video Codec: AVC
  • Audio: DTS HD Master
  • 2 Disc Set
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Audio Commentary
  • Deleted Scene(s)
  • Featurette
  • Documentary
  • Digital Copy